US contractors benefit most from EU defense spending commitments
EU countries have pledged to spend some $230 billion on new weapons since the Russian military operation began.
Several European countries turn to US arms manufacturers for more than half of their arms purchases. Yahoo cited data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to show examples of US dominance of European arsenals.
US-made arms accounted for 95% of the Netherlands’ arms purchases between 2017 and 2021. The proportions were 83% US arms for Norway, 77% for the UK and 72% for Italy.
European arms imports soared 19% during the five-year period in which then-President Donald Trump urged his NATO allies to meet his defense spending obligations.
“American presidents always talk about burden sharing, saying that European countries are not spending a large enough part of their economies, and that the United States is disproportionately paying for Europe’s defense. But that doesn’t take into account all the money that it’s flowing back from US arms sales to Europe. I think it’s a tighter balance than US policymakers want to admit,” said William Hartung, senior fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
The Ukrainian crisis is set to create an even bigger gain, as President Joe Biden leads an international campaign to flood Ukraine with weapons and the conflict triggers accelerated action by European nations to bolster their own defenses, along with promises to help Kyiv. “This is without a doubt the biggest increase in defense spending in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” said Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Center for European Reform.
One of the reasons so many countries turn to US arms manufacturers is that the US defense industry is so big that countries don’t have to wait for next-generation weapons to be developed, Hartung explained.
Another reason is that Eastern and Central European countries “want to keep the United States on their side and show that they value the transatlantic alliance,” including NATO.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, European countries have entered at least the initial phase of negotiations for $33 billion worth of arms purchases, including $21 billion since February, Yahoo said, citing Quincy figures. Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Last September, the United States Senate authorized a new economic support for kyiv for 12.4 billion dollars, an amount that will be distributed in different areas of assistance for the European country. Days earlier, President Biden had approved another $675 million military aid package to Ukraine, according to Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin.
On October 29, the US Department of Defense endorsed a new support package for kyiv worth $275 million. Russia warned that Western arms supplies would prolong the crisis, while the United States and other NATO members would become de facto participants in the conflict.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Instituto Internacional de Estudios para la Paz de Estocolmo)
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